Thursday, May 23, 2019

Caring, Sharing, Racially Comparing

This curious question is part of the application form for the HK$4,000 Caring and Sharing Scheme handout, one of the government's series of cockamamie programmes for giving back the taxpayers' money with the minimum of rational targeting and the maximum of bureaucratic expense and inconvenience.

Curious because the scheme is open to all Hong Kong residents with no racial qualifications, so there is no obvious need to ask the question.  Indeed, to do so is probably in breach of the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance.

Curious also for the apparently random selection of countries included.  While there are substantial numbers of South Asians in Hong Kong, few of them are from Sri Lanka, while those of white European ancestry - a much larger group - are not included at all; nor are Africans or Arabs.  And while the Scheme has been promoted in various ethnic minority languages, these do not correspond with the list in the questionnaire.

And curious too because most of those listed are not ethnicities at all, but nationalities.  By Bengali the form's compilers probably mean citizens of Bangladesh, but millions of those with Indian nationality are also ethnic Bengalis.  Sri Lanka has two major ethnic groups - Sinhalese and Tamils - while all the countries on the list have multiple ethnic groups or at least substantial minorities.

So what is this all about?

The Lucky Lemming

Unfortunately I don't have another EU nationality, unlike this happy chap.

This can't go on forever - can it?

Monday, May 13, 2019

Andrew Marr gets up Nigel Farage's nose

Nice one, Andrew!  Since Farage's past lies played a major part in creating the current Brexit mess, it seems entirely appropriate for Marr to call him out on them.

Friday, May 10, 2019

Accidentally like a martyr

Was it really necessary for the Hong Kong authorities to wrap jailed LegCo member Shiu Ka-chun in chains like a ferocious wild animal for his return from hospital to prison?  Shiu is a gentle soul whose only "crime" is peaceful civil disobedience, not a vicious thug who needs restraint to ensure public safety.  A token pair of handcuffs would be more than enough precaution against the unlikely possibility of him taking flight.

There are two possible explanations for this security overkill.  One is gratuitous nastiness on the part of a government whose velvet glove is increasingly coming apart at the seams.  The other is that the powers that be are more afraid of the democratic opposition than they would ever admit, even to themselves.  Either way, they should all be sentenced to go away and read the works of Thoreau for a while.

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Cross-Cultural Appropriation

Branding experts like to ask what a brand stands for.  When a Japanese bakery in a Chinese city advertises itself with a picture of a European child so perfectly white he could have auditioned successfully for a Hitler Youth recruitment poster, what indeed?

Monday, April 29, 2019

Far from the Madding Crows

I was originally going to name this piece either Pigeon Post, after the Arthur Ransome story, or Like a Bird on the Wire, after the Leonard Cohen song, but then I accidentally came up with the typo above which seemed to fit a bird-related post.

The pictures come from the point where Johnston Road turns off from Hennessy Road in Wanchai by the Chinese Methodist Church.  For some reason, large flocks of pigeons regularly gather on the tram lines at this point.  What puzzles me is why they choose this particular perch - some nearby food source perhaps?  Or are they devout Methodist pigeons waiting for the next service to start?  Perhaps any ornithologist reading this could suggest a reason.